Thus we are left with stimulus spending that is not self-sustaining and a structural expansion in the food stamp program. In effect, we have an increase in the disincentive to work or to search for better paying employment….The Congress, however, has not helped its case by taking what so far has been a do-no-harm attitude toward agricultural subsidies. Most of the benefit of these subsidies goes to large agri-businesses who are as far from the family farm as I am in New York City picking fruit in the supermarket.
Asking whether the USG charges up the EBT Cards for the poor is a little like asking whether Members of Congress from Iowa favor Ethanol mandates out of a deep concern for US foreign policy. Otherwise, with a jobs report that !Destroy’s Expectations at 204K! coupled with an estimated GDP growth of 2.8% in Q3 2013, we’d expect everyone to be better off and there to be little need of such an ongoing ramp in EBT cards. So how then is it possible that people claim cutting of EBT benefits will lead to economic doldrums?
Well let’s take a gander at the War on Poverty Scoreboard for a bit. It turns out 49.7M or 16 percent of Americans are below the poverty line. And yet the proponents of higher welfare spending will always beg the question of whether these policies actually reduce poverty by issuing statements such as “And one of the main things keeping the economy weak is the depressing effect of cutbacks in public spending — especially, by the way, cuts in public investment — all justified in the name of protecting the future from the wildly exaggerated threat of excessive debt. Is there any chance of reversing this damage?”(Paul Krugman, New York Times)
With all due respect to Professor Krugman, food stamps have not been languishing due to disinvestment out of concern for fiscal debt. As the chart below depicts, the rate of change in the numbers enrolled on food stamps has been positive every year since 2002; regardless of the underlying economic conditions. If we really were ripping poor Timmy Tim’s EBT Card to shreds and then rolling in the bathtub full of bucks with Scrooge McDuck as we laughed about it afterwards, Dr. Krugman would have an obvious gravamen. If we really were telling Oliver Twist to join the flippin’ USMC if he wants to afford to ever feed his family, Dr. Krugman would be well within the bounds of decency and reason to scold the ice-hearted Plutocracy that never invites MIT Economics Professors to its elitist enclaves.
But we haven’t. Well over 1/2 of our non-defense Federal Spending consists of means-tested entitlements and welfare programs. So why is so much of America still poor? This is because the poor aren’t the ones ultimately making the bucks off of food stamps. It is ultimately a transfer payment from Middle-Class Taxpayers to rich food and beverage firms with JP Morgan raking in a few hundred million clams as well.
Aaron Task of The Burning Platform writes about how big business makes out like The Hamburgler from SNAP spending. “Here’s where the profits come in,” Nestle (an economist) says. “A vast percentage of Food Stamps’ money goes into the pockets of soda companies and snack food companies…and also the stores that sell these foods.”
Thus these individuals fight to “represent the poor” and protect their moneymakers in Congress. Task has Economist Marion Nestle explain this incestuous political conjugation below.
“The point here is that banks that administer SNAP have a vested interest in keeping SNAP enrollments high and makers of junk foods have a vested interest in making sure that there are no restrictions on use of benefits,” she writes….There is no public data available on how Food Stamp funds are being spent. “If there are data on what Food Stamps are spent on, they are proprietary data the companies have and either the government doesn’t know, doesn’t have access or isn’t saying,” Nestle observes
So the people that call you heartless and cruel for opposing the annual ritual of jacking food stamp payments up again are no more concerned about the poor than Senators Grassley and Harkin are about alternative energy policy. These leeches are attached to your wallet and your life is somewhat worse and more impoverished as a direct result. Convert the actuarial value of SNAP benefits to a cash payment instead of an EBT Card, and none of these food and banking industry executives would urinate on the starving poor if they saw them on the street corner in flames. The USG SNAP program is an ongoing crony capitalist scam.